Mixed or average reviews - based on 40 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 71 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Plagued by his own demons, Walter Black was once a successful toy executive and family man who now suffers from depression. No matter what he tries, Walter can't seem to get himself back on track... until a beaver hand puppet enters his life.(Summit Entertainment)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    May 5, 2011
    I suppose the perfect ending to the chapter would be to report that The Beaver is a masterpiece. It isn't quite, but it does offer an astonishing and resonant performance by Gibson, who spends most of the movie playing two simultaneous characters, often in the same shot.
  2. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    May 6, 2011
    This bizarre little movie is all over the place as drama - but genuinely compelling as a one-of-a-kind piece of public self-flagellation.
  3. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    May 19, 2011
    Gibson's performance, at times subtle, at times showy and never less than remarkable, is what makes The Beaver worth seeing.
  4. Reviewed by: Jen Chaney
    May 5, 2011
    In a triumph of cinema over celebrity gossip, The Beaver mostly makes us forget about Gibson's madman persona and simply draws us into the story that he and director Jodie Foster, who also plays Walter's wife, Meredith, want to tell.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    May 6, 2011
    Oddly engrossing, off-kilter drama.
  6. 50
    Clearly, the screenplay is looking for some black comedy here, but Foster's direction is too earnest to locate it.
  7. Reviewed by: David Denby
    May 2, 2011
    As director, Foster, working with Kyle Killen's screenplay, treats the goofy premise with a literal earnestness-as a family drama about separation and reunion-that seems all wrong. A little wit would have helped.

See all 40 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 31
  2. Negative: 5 out of 31
  1. May 6, 2011
    I've always known Mel Gibson was a talented actor but I had no idea to what degree until I saw this film. His portrayal of Walter Black is ineffably poignant and Oscar worthy in my humble opinion. Kudos to Jodie Foster for pulling off a film that took great courage to make. Expand
  2. May 8, 2011
    Why isn't this movie playing in more theaters? I had to drive two hours just to see it but I must say the trip was worth it. Jodie Foster is an awesome director and actress. Her screen chemistry with Mel Gibson is undeniable as these two were both great in Maverick together as well. Expand
  3. May 6, 2011
    I went to go see this movie because I'm a Jodie Foster fan but what really impressed me was Mel Gibson. There is already some preliminary Oscar buzz surrounding Mel's performance which is little surprise after seeing what he invested in this very unusual role. Expand
  4. Jun 11, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. "You take everyone's suffering and turn it into gold," Lucy complains to her misanthropic brother-in-law, a Phillip Roth-like novelist in Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry", and it goes without saying that it's Allen who plays the unscrupulous writer. If read as a coded apology to his former lover, the line then becomes tantamount to a mea culpa, since in real life, as Allen's fans know, his films often contain autobiographical elements, none more so than "Husbands & Wives", the 1992 psychodrama that arrived in theaters on the heels of the Soon-Yi scandal, in which ardent Woody-philes lined up to go watch their hero work out his relationship issues in a diegesis fraught with transparency, unbeknownst to Mia Farrow, the filmmaker's live-in lover, whose adopted daughter he started sleeping with. Farrow's situation was unprecedented and unenviable, a celluloidal public humiliation perpetuated by Allen in a film where he lies self-referentially toward questions pertaining to fidelity. Playing Gabe to Farrow's Judy, the literature professor tells the wife that his young female students "don't want an old man." Attracted to what a friend describes as "kamikaze women"(a reference to Previn's Asian background), Gabe Roth pursues a younger woman, a promising student writer(played by Juliette Lewis), who in a self-revelatory scene at a taxi dispatch office, is seen retrieving a lost manuscript alongside Allen through tinted glass with an ominous "Beware of the Dog" sign pointedly hanging out front, as a sort of stealth warning to Farrow about his unforgivable betrayal that would soon be coming to light. In "Bullets Over Broadway", Allen fatuously declares that "an artist creates his own moral universe." Three years later, the amoralist, in a more humble and contrite mode, as Harry Block, admits that he "can't function well in life but can in art," words which never rang truer for Mel Gibson, who during production on "The Beaver", exercised his right as an artist to create his own circle of hell. Same as the Allen film, the appeal of this curio by the former Clarice Sterling lies in its baggage, which in this case, comes in the form of those infamous phone calls that a very drunk Gibson placed to his Russian girlfriend, which in turn, transforms ordinary scenes into confessional performance art, such as the one where Walter Black, using the dissociate hand puppet to perform an intervention on himself, given the context of his personal life, becomes a real self-introspective moment, therefore blurring the line between drama and documentary. When the beaver tells the depressed CEO of a successful toy company to "blow up" his life and "start again", he might as well be talking to Gibson himself, who apparently took the hand puppet's advice as motivation to blow up at Grigorieva over a series of menacing wireless exchanges; at one point telling the mother of his child that if she "gets raped by a pack of n******, it's your fault." Is it possible that the actor, under the influence of alcohol and, perhaps, the devil, could no longer make the distinction between where make-believe ended and real life began? When Gibson assaulted Grigorieva in their home(alluded to in the tapes where he hits the accomplished pianist in the face while holding Gibson's child), it's as if he was following the beaver's instructions to "blow up the whole bloody building." And yet, in spite of the tapes, people still tolerate him, boorish behavior and whatnot, as evidenced by he hero's welcome he received at the most-recent Cannes Film Festival where "The Beaver" had its world premiere. If you're a celebrity, or a person with the clout to wield power, like Gibson's counterpart Walter Black, the face of a multi-million corporation, you can get away with murder, or the considerably lesser crime of addressing your employees in tandem with a movable piece of anthropomorphic fabric. Surrendering control to the beaver, Walter's alter-ego, who carries "the negative aspects of his personality", rescues the slumping toy manufacturer by rolling out the improbably popular "Mr. Beaver's Woodcutting Kit", a product that has the metaphorical possibilities of being the Gibson-directed fluke hit "The Passion of the Christ". After all, the toy comes complete with a hammer(present during the crucifixion scene) and a chisel, which when used in concert with the hammer on the kit-supplied block of wood, a child could then produce a cross. "The Beaver", when all is said and done, allows Gibson to skirt personal responsibility and blame the reviled film and his domestic violence tendencies against women on a doppleganger. As an apology of sorts for all his past transgressions, in typical Gibson style, Walter tortures himself, cutting off his own hand with a bandsaw. The real Mel Gibson didn't call his girlfriend a c*** and a w****, or blame the Jews for killing Christ. That was the puppet talking. Expand
  5. Nov 14, 2014
    Do not be decieved, this is not a comedy about a puppet beaver or something like that. This is a serious and sad movie about a terminally depressed man. Can't say this is a masterpiece, but still a good one. Expand
  6. May 6, 2011
    Piece of crud film due to casting Mel G. Sad that Jodie Foster cast such an idiot in what would be an otherwise good film. Mel is a total freak and anti-semite, who should never be in any film again. Expand

See all 31 User Reviews